If you've heard of Dan Deacon, you were probably stoked (and a little surprised) to see his name on the Bele Chere lineup. If you're not familiar, prepare to be confused and possibly even elated by his set.
First, a little background for the latecomers: Deacon is an articulate, lighthearted, classically-trained composer/multi-instrumentalist best known for his psychedelic, percussive electronic pop and penchant for the absurd. But the eclectic, Baltimore-based songwriter is no knob-turning amateur; he also scores films and writes contemporary classical works for ensembles of varying size and repute.
Deacon is known as much for cathartic, communal live shows (where he often performs from the floor, surrounded by fans) as for his celebratory, adrenalized recordings. And he's certainly no stranger to festivals — Deacon has played just about all the majors. So, on one hand, his appearance at Bele Chere isn't all that shocking. Then again, the thought of the eccentric electronic composer and anti-corporate, DIY statesman presiding over a crowd of half-baked, drunken buffoons (sorry guys, you know it's kind of true) is also baffling (and fascinating, in an anthropological sort of way). I have a sneaking suspicion he won't be especially fond of a majority of the crowd, as Deacon has stated in interviews that he hates the idea of "enabling" drug culture and "wants nothing to do with" it. But hey, maybe he doesn't consider alcohol a drug?
One has to wonder if Deacon has any clue what he signed up for with the Bele Chere gig (street preachers, shirtless hillbillies, overly-imbibed frat boys and families on ill-advised vacations) or if this happy accident was the misguided brainchild of an overzealous booking agent who dropped the ball on his/her due diligence. Either way, things are going to get weird in one form or another. Here's to hoping it's good weird. — D.S.